Election Integrity — Nassau County, FL Voting Process In Secure Hands

Janet Adkins’ frugal and efficient election operations have also saved Nassau taxpayers money.

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

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 Janet Adkins proudly embraces her role as a public servant. She serves up heaping portions of election integrity with a garnish of fiscal conservatism.

As the supervisor of elections for Nassau County, Adkins runs a lean, clean office. In today’s environment of voting irregularities, it is refreshing as water from a Florida spring.

“Everything that we do in this office is geared around building trust in elections,” Adkins says. “People need to trust elections.”

As the guest speaker at the Federated Republican Women of Nassau luncheon Friday, Adkins explains her office’s protective procedures, due diligence, desire for transparency. The biggest applause came after Adkins highlighted the $666,000 of savings her office returned to taxpayers this year. A government agency underspent its budget, in other soothing words.

The savings began soon after Adkins took office. Through her frugal and efficient operations, she returned $900,000 over the two prior years. To do it, she trimmed mailing costs, a major expense for elections offices. The savings came in printing, in paper, in postage.

In addition, she has developed an abundant network of qualified, part-time election workers. They are hand-picked, and well-trained (and paid for their work). In this way, Adkins controls staffing costs, and avoids overtime. Her full-time staff is exemplary, however, with 90 years of combined election experience.

“Our goal is to build a culture where our election workers want to come back,” Adkins says, which saves training costs. “They are the face of our elections office.”

Extraordinary voting safeguards are employed. This involves scrubbing voter rolls, registering new voters, and handling ballots. Simple tasks like collecting mail-in ballots are done with two staff members, with one as a witness.

Florida is different from some other states. Early votes as well as mail-in ballots can be tabulated prior to election day here. All ballots must be received by 7 p.m. election day, however, or they do not count.

In some states, mail-in ballots must only be postmarked by election day – which extends the counting process, sometimes by weeks. It also opens a squeaky door to fraud. Like boxes of ballots pulled out from under tables, or pickup trucks delivering bags of ballots.

Fraudulent voting is nothing new. In 2018, two elections supervisors in south Florida were removed by Gov. Ron DeSantis for voting shenanigans. Ideally, elections offices in all states are as meticulous as the one Adkins oversees. However, after the pandemic-related antics in the 2020 presidential election, this is wishful thinking.

Anyone who is skeptical of the voting process in Nassau County can attend any canvassing board meetings. “We have a very open, transparent process here,” Adkins says.

The office’s canvassing board operates in the sunshine and involves three people, including Adkins. The other two are a judge and a county commissioner. They meet on a pre-planned, publicized schedule.

Canvassing boards are mandated by the state. They oversee the accuracy tests of the equipment, determine voter intent on unclear ballots, and certify the election results.

“People can come observe,” Adkins says, “ask questions, and become confident in Nassau County’s elections.” The Nassau County Supervisor of Elections website is superb, and a mobile app is even available.

During her speech, Adkins shares interesting statistics about the 74,000 registered voters in Nassau County. Of these, 44,000 are Republicans, with 14,000 who are unaffiliated, and 13,000 Democrats. The number of voters has practically doubled since 2006.

In the last presidential election, 81 percent of registered voters turned out in Nassau County. This is extremely high. Ballots were cast evenly between early voting, mail-in voting and election-day voting.

Regardless, Nassau County is in secure hands. Voters can feel confident in the voting process here. A former state representative for our area, Adkins operates with the noblest of intentions – of a pure, public servant.

“It’s about serving Nassau County voters,” she says. “I want to make sure voters have an excellent experience when they interact with our elections office.”


Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.